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My father used to say, “Chuck doesn’t do anything in halves.” He was right: sometimes its a virtue and sometimes a curse. He and my mother taught me to cook, sometimes using cookbooks, like Julia Child's, but more frequently just winging it. This site is a roller coaster ride of recipes, articles, ingredients and anything else that involves cooking and presenting food. There is something here for everybody from beginners to experts.



Stop Guessing the Temp!

Cooking obviously requires heat. The variable that often escapes us is how much heat? Ovens have temperature controls, in fact it would seem absurd not to have this feature. How about the stovetop burners/elements? Ah, for these,....... we guess. For pancakes, "heat the griddle until a drop of water 'dances,' is a common line in recipes. For consistency, there is no real substitute for knowing the precise temperature of a pan especially when it is so easy to do.

Why control the pan temp precisely?
1. Heat oils enough for browning but not to the point where they start to burn
2. Avoid food sticking in a pan that was not hot enough.
3. Brown food quickly without over cooking it
4. Impressing friends and neighbors!
5. Avoid damaging pans by overheating themir temp

I now have this infrared heat gun right next to my stove. Amazon Prime $20.88!! It is small and looks scientific. Point it and pull trigger. No more guessing.

Example, browning Salmon:
1. Put skillet on stove, and turn heat to high
2. Add oil ( I like ghee i.e. clarified butter)
3. Heat pan to 400 degrees for ghee (between 375 and the smoke point of the oil)
4. Salt the fillet and add to hot oil. let it cook until nicely browned.
5. Adjust flame to maintain pan temp
6. Turn it over, reduce heat and cook until medium rare, or transfer to 300 degree oven and cook to an internal temp of about 120.




Cooking Temps

Chicken breast 165

Chicken thigh 170 or more

Pork med well 145

Pork med 140

Rack of lamb med rare 131

Beef very rare 125

Beef rare 130

Beef med rare 135

Duck Breast 126

Salmon med 118

Disclaimer: USDA stds dictate much higher temps. To be super safe, cook everything until it is dry and crunchy